Business invited to Kick-Start R&D with CSIRO SME Connect

Australia's science agency, CSIRO, has announced a $20 million investment aimed at empowering small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to supercharge their research and development (R&D) endeavors.

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The significance of SMEs within Australia's economic landscape cannot be overstated. Accounting for 99.8% of businesses, SMEs contribute substantially to the GDP and play a vital role in job creation. However, despite their immense potential, SMEs often face challenges in accessing the necessary resources and expertise to thrive in a competitive market.

With CSIRO's SME Connect, these challenges are set to be alleviated. SMEs stand to benefit from tailored programs and initiatives designed to facilitate collaboration, foster innovation, and drive business growth. From technology and manufacturing to agriculture and biosecurity, SMEs across diverse industries will gain access to a wealth of opportunities for advancement.

The newly announced funding will allow CSIRO’s SME Connect team to support up to 750 SMEs through a range of programs and initiatives that provide facilitation, training, dollar-matched funding and support to start-ups and SMEs seeking to engage in company-led research projects.

SME Connect offers four programs, including two that have matched-funding grants for projects and placements for SME businesses of all sizes.

At the heart of this initiative lies CSIRO's flagship program, CSIRO Kick-Start, a proven catalyst for driving collaborative R&D projects. Since its inception in 2017, Kick-Start has propelled over 280 company-led initiatives, catapulting alumni companies to a combined market value exceeding $2 billion.

Dr Doug Hilton, CSIRO’s Chief Executive, emphasised the significance of this investment and the transformative impact it would have for Australia’s critical SME sector.

“SMEs are crucial drivers of Australia’s future and so often the engine room of new, innovative thinking and solutions to many of the challenges our society faces,” Dr Hilton said.

“CSIRO’s fundamental role as the national science agency is to create benefits for Australia and that includes helping to drive SME’s productivity, sustainability and growth through greater access to R&D opportunities and conducting research to support a more resilient and diverse economy."

“CSIRO is committed to its role within the innovation ecosystem of supporting SMEs in embracing research and providing access to the resources, knowledge, and support they need to flourish.”

For SMEs seeking to harness the power of R&D to drive innovation, CSIRO's investment presents an unparalleled opportunity. Through supports like CSIRO Kick-Start, Innovate to Grow, and the Collaboration Readiness Levels tool, SMEs can embark on a journey of discovery, exploration, and growth.

Go to CSIRO’s SME Connect programs here to explore supports for your R&D initiatives.

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